by Jack Bechta
October 09, 02013
I’m mad at a few teams right now and perhaps have been for a while. Anytime I feel a team has lied to, mistreated or mislead my client, I get mad. I stay professional of course, but I don’t forget and I don’t trust that team on the next go-round. If they draft my player or offer the most in free agency, I will do business with them again if that’s in the best interest of my client. However, I may hold them to a higher standard and watch their moves more closely.
While venting on a situation with another respected agent, who has a nice size clientele and has been in business a long time, we started comparing notes on teams we felt we could trust and those we can’t. So I decided to expand the conversation throughout the agent community to see if there was an overriding consensus on which teams are class acts to do business with and which ones we can't trust while working for our respective clients.
I informally polled, via text, over twelve agents and received quick answers from ten of them. I asked each agent which teams they trust the most doing business with using the following categories:
Fairness in contract negotiations
Open, honest and direct communication about clients
Medical care and the business decisions that go along with it
The development of young players
Now keep in mind that not every agent has dealt with every team in the last few years. In addition, there may be new regimes in place with new faces in power. Also, it is human nature for there to be bias. For example, if an agent lands a big deal for his client, he may think that team is the best. On the contrary, if his player is cut due to an injury the team denied responsibility for, the agent may hold a grudge against that team. That’s why I felt it’s important to select a wide verity of agents to ask this question. Collectively the agents I ask represent over 250 active players.
Here are the top five teams mentioned the most by the agents I polled:
The Green Bay Packers – All but one agent I polled had the Green Bay Packers in their top five. There is no doubt that the Packers unique ownership structures helps to create an environment for accountability and openness.
Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks are as easy going as their head coach and general manager. They don’t play games and quickly let you know where you stand.
NY Giants - The Giants have a no nonsense professional approach that agents appreciate.
Minnesota Vikings – The Front office people run the Vikings in a manner that agents seem to trust. They are not afraid to keep and pay their best players.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Despite their current struggles, agents know where they and their clients stand with this team. The owner is going to be patient during the rebuilding process and the decision makers are not panicking and are looking towards building for the long term. The brass is always responsive and quick to give you honest feedback on your clients.
Other teams that were mentioned frequently and could have easily be in the top five with a broader population of agents polled are: Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and the San Diego Chargers.
Its important to note that newer formed regimes (with new coaches and front office execs) such as KC and Cleveland for example, may not have been around long enough for agents to do enough business with yet.
(Note: In addition, to make sure I did not sway the voting I took myself out of the poll but three of the teams I initially identified are in the top five of the overall agents’ consensus).
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